Panel discusses careers in student affairs

Chalice Keith/TheNews

Story by Matthew Parks, Staff writer

Members of the faculty and staff in Murray State’s Student Affairs office participated in a panel on the profession, hosted and moderated by Eve Kotter, on Thursday.

Kotter is a graduate teaching assistant and tutoring coordinator in Student Support Services at Murray State.

Chalice Keith/TheNews

Chalice Keith/TheNews

Kotter said she believes student affairs is an important part of the collegiate experience and organized the panel as a part of ‘Careers in Student Affairs Month’ for students to get a better feel for the occupation.

“These students are coming to us from all different backgrounds, all expecting an experience that is going to enrich their education,” Kotter said. “It’s important that we turn out not only educated minds, but developed selves.”

Speakers in the panel included Jody Cofer-Randall, coordinator for the office of LGBT programming, Ben Littlepage, assistant professor and Post Secondary Education program coordinator, Elizabeth Stoehr, assistant director of resident education, and Kenny Fister, college head of Hester residential college.

The speakers discussed their day to day duties as members of the student affairs team, which were described as widely varying and hectic, but most of all focused on enhancing every student’s college experience.

“I think it’s normal in student affairs for our days to fall apart,” Cofer-Randall said, “But at the end of the day our job is to put out fires and help students and that’s what we do.”

Panelists also discussed some of the issues that face their profession, agreeing that some of the most pressing issues are human resources and funding.

Littlepage also added he believes the increasing customization of higher education is a major issue that the field is facing.

“We’re already under-manned in terms of human resources and financial support,” Littlepage said. “And the more we desire to customize what we do the more we perpetuate those two issues.”

Elana Stubbs, graduate assistant for student affairs and the Retention Office, said she believes no matter the obstacles she can make a difference in the field.

“This is my dream,” Stubbs said. “At the end of the day, we have to remember that we might not touch everybody, but that one student we might touch is that lifelong memory that makes it all worth it.”